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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Defeats UMBC In Straight Sets In First Round Of NCAA Tournament

No. 4-seeded Penn State women’s volleyball (24-7, Big Ten 13-7) defeated the UMBC Retrievers (17-8) in straight sets in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night (25-14, 25-17, 25-12).

Following a dominant first season under coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley, the Nittany Lions had no trouble sliding into No. 11 to finish the season, earning them the advantage of hosting the first two rounds of NCAA Tournament play.

How It Happened

Gillian Grimes got things going with a service ace and continued on a 5-0 scoring run, which prompted an early timeout from UMBC. Coming off of the timeout, the Retrievers were able to score a few points, including one from a service ace. The Nittany Lions had no trouble staying ahead, forcing UMBC’s second timeout of the set as the team trailed by eight, 12-4.

Back-to-back kills from Zoe Weatherington stretched Penn State’s lead to double digits, 16-6. UMBC used a challenge card, claiming that there was a touch on the ball by a Nittany Lion. The touch was confirmed, and the point was given to the Retrievers.

After their successful challenge, the Retrievers scored a few points, but Penn State held on to a comfortable lead. Two service aces from Anjelina Stark helped the Nittany Lions to wrap up set one 25-14.

On just the second play of set two, Penn State challenged a touch called on the ball. The call was overturned and Penn State got the point, which gave the team an early 2-0 lead. UMBC took its first timeout as the Nittany Lions took a five-point lead.

Each time they came out of a timeout, the Retrievers returned to the court with a vengeance. UMBC went on a 3-0 scoring run and followed it up with some perfectly placed kills, nearly closing in on the Nittany Lions as they trailed just 11-9.

Penn State regained its footing and extended the lead to 17-11, prompting UMBC’s second timeout of the set. The Nittany Lions continued a 5-0 scoring run, but UMBC answered with one of its own, making the score 20-15. A double block from Penn State’s Allie Holland and Seleisa Elisaia brought up set point, and a UMBC service error wrapped things up 25-17.

UMBC started to get comfortable in the third set and took its first lead of the entire evening, 3-1. This was nothing for the Nittany Lions to worry about, though, as they answered with a 6-0 scoring run.

Yet another service ace from Penn State increased the lead to 14-6, leaving behind any memories that the Retrievers had of that lead early in the set. Katie Clark was back in action in the third set, tallying three kills to help increase the Nittany Lions’ lead to 21-9. With a double block from Alexa Markley and Holland, Penn State secured its ticket to round two of the NCAA Tournament.

Player of the Game | Allie Holland

Allie Holland played an impressive game all across the court, racking up a total of seven kills and eight blocks, the highest of the night. Holland also maintained a .462 hitting percentage across three sets, the second-highest percentage of the evening.

What’s Next

Penn State will return to Rec Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, to challenge UCF in the second round of NCAA Tournament play.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a junior studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is a coffee addict, loves Taylor Swift, and can't wait to go to a concert again. Any questions can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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